Elaine Chao favored Kentuckians in meeting with officials seeking grants

The emails from McConnell’s office to Chao’s staff sometimes included details about projects that participants wanted to discuss with the secretary, or to ask her for special favors. Some of the officials who met with Chao had active grant applications before the Department of Transportation through competitive programs and the emails indicate that the meetings sometimes involved the exchange of information about grants and opportunities for the officials to plead their cases directly to Chao.

Pedestrians die every 90 minutes in the U.S., and low-income areas are hurt most

The memorial to Christian Vega near a busy Los Angeles intersection is a serene arrangement of flowers and votive candles offset from the busy sidewalk by a row of bushes. Erected where Riverside Drive and Newell Street meet, it is the second memorial for Vega. The first was flattened by a car that jumped the curb as it sped around the corner, spilling red roses like blood just yards from where a Toyota Camry struck the 17-year-old on a rainy night in February. The car that hit Vega deposited

USDA faces pressure to implement farm bill heirs' property provisions

The 2018 farm bill included provisions that advocates described as the most substantive step the federal government has taken to address heirs’ property, a type of ownership that has led numerous black Americans to lose their land. But eight months after President Donald Trump signed the farm bill into law, the heirs’ property provisions have yet to take effect. One of the provisions, which authorizes tens of millions of dollars for a federal loan program, has been held up by appropriations gridlock on Capitol Hill. The other, which makes it easier for producers operating on heirs’ property to register for a farm number, depends on the Agriculture Department to implement it.

Perdue orders price-fixing inquiry after Tyson plant fire

Secretary Sonny Perdue on Wednesday directed the USDA's antitrust enforcement division to examine whether market manipulation occurred after an Aug. 9 fire at a beef processing plant in Kansas. The fire led to the temporary closing of a Tyson Foods plant in Holcomb, Kan., which processed 6,000 heads of cattle daily, or about 5 percent of the total U.S. slaughter. In the aftermath, retailers scrambled to lock in supply, driving up prices for choice beef, which have stayed relatively high since.

Repeat defenders: Small businesses irked by need to ask for tariff relief twice in one year

Win Cramer feels like his electronics company is experiencing the trade version of double jeopardy. Cramer, the chief executive of California-based JLab Audio, is one of scores of business leaders testifying before U.S. trade officials this week and next in an effort to convince the Trump administration to make certain Chinese imports crucial for U.S. businesses exempted from a potential new wave of U.S. tariffs. Cramer is set to argue at a hearing on Monday for wireless audio transmission components to be spared. And like many of those testifying, he's in eerily familiar territory. Last summer Cramer made an almost identical plea at the same location — the U.S. International Trade Commission office in Washington. At the time, when the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative was planning to impose tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese goods to force Beijing to change its intellectual property practices, Cramer got what he wanted. But now, as President Donald Trump threatens to escalate the trade war with China, the administration is readying a potential tariff strike against an additional $300 billion of goods — and the transmission devices Cramer's company needs have landed back on the tariff hit list.

Walmart amplifies claims of small grocers in poultry price-fixing case

The antitrust lawsuits against the world's largest poultry processors that are moving through an Illinois district court feature plenty of David and Goliath narratives — dozens of farmers, small grocers and regional wholesalers are being pitted against powerful conglomerates like Tyson Foods and Sanderson Farms. But the plaintiff that has received the most attention for its claims that the poultry giants illegally colluded to set prices is itself an industry titan: Walmart. In normal circumstances, the Arkansas-based retailer is a domineering force that isn't afraid to buy up competitors and expand to new market sectors. But in the poultry anti-trust matter it has taken up the cause of the proverbial little guy.

Mayor Candidate Corey Woods Wants to Make Tempe a Cheaper Place to Live. Can He?

A new entrant to the race for the seat of Tempe Mayor Mark Mitchell is shining a light on one of the city's thorniest problems. Former Tempe City Councilman Corey Woods, who announced in March that he would challenge Mitchell, has made housing affordability central to his campaign, though both men said tackling rising costs of living is front of mind. Tempe has over the past decade added a bevy of jobs and residents, netting major corporate relocations and allowing Arizona State University to

Scott and fellow GOP governors trade campaign rancor for holiday cheer in Arizona

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — The world of Washington politics was 2,300 miles away at the 2018 Republican Governors Association conference this week in Scottsdale, Arizona, and that suited Gov. Phil Scott just fine. The event served as an opportunity for victorious Republican governors to cleanse themselves of the mud they’d slung at Democratic opponents in the midterms, and for the RGA, which is more than happy to do the dirty work through PACs supporting the candidates, to do the same. The animosity

Light Rail or Street Repair? Phoenix Transportation Needs Hit Funding Reality

Walter Gray is straddling a divide, and it's a divide that looks an awful lot like a pothole. The self-described community activist from west Phoenix wants better, smoother streets — Council District 7, where he lives, will within five years have 91 miles of major roads that the city considers unworthy of a "good" rating, according to the Street Transportation department. This could mean anything from roads that are a little weathered to stretches of pavement pockmarked by potholes. He also wa

Fear and hope on Dallas' 10th Street, one of the nation's last freedmen's towns

Two homes, minimal lot space in between, sit side by side on Cliff Street where Church intersects. At first they seem no different from the other faded, vacant or neglected craftsman-style properties in the 10th Street neighborhood, a historic district south of the Trinity River founded by freed slaves after the Civil War. The first house, 218 Cliff, is boarded up, vacant, derelict, with "No Trespassing" spray-painted on the front. It's the kind of decades-old home that gets torn down here, ha

What does a $500 million Google data center mean for D-FW's 'Southern Star'?

Reducing dependence on one type of business future-proofs the city and creates job-training opportunities for its workers so they can find employment even after the building boom that's driving much of Midlothian's industrial activity dies down. Diversification is important because the city doesn't look much like it used to and will look different still another few years down the road. From a rail town in the 19th century to an industrial town in the '60s, Midlothian was historically small and

Is D-FW's next great community sprouting from the plains outside Fort Worth?

It looked like the setup to a joke, or a scene from an alternate-reality spaghetti western. Two guys, brows shining and skin pasty under the midday sun, stood on a patch of dirt and weeds. They wore tailored slacks and dress shirts with sleeves rolled above the elbow; it's the look that bright-eyed junior members of Congress don when meeting constituents in campaign ads, the look that suggests: "There's work to be done, and we're the ones who're gonna do it." Behind them stretched out the big

In 2011, Dallas had 375 houses for sale under $50,000. What about now?

The house at 810 Millard St. in Oak Cliff is for sale. And potential buyers better act fast — Dallas is in a housing crunch, and this property is in an up-and-coming neighborhood. The online listing very urgently declares: "MULTIPLE OFFERS RECEIVED." The median price for pre-owned Dallas homes is above $260,000. This house is listed for $20,000. Now, it may not have any appliances, or heating and cooling, but it has four walls, a roof and municipal water hookups. At 606 square feet, with ramsh

How Belmont Hotel developer turned warehouse full of dead raccoons into a south Oak Cliff anchor

For decades, the warehouse on Polk Street south of the Tyler/Vernon DART station in Oak Cliff was the home of the Dixie Wax Paper Company. They made, unsurprisingly, wax paper — the very same wax paper that lines Dixie Cups. The company, later known as Dixico, had operated in the Elmwood neighborhood since the 1920s. In the 1980s, according to Dallas Morning News clippings from the time, the firm sought permission to burn hazardous waste in the factory but was beaten back by outcry from local r

'It's like buying penny stocks': D-FW cryptocurrency miners go prospecting for digital gold

On the evening of May 29, the power was out in the two front rooms of Stanley Edgar's Rockwall home, where he lives with his 32-year-old son Brandon, Brandon's girlfriend and the couple's children. Brandon's girlfriend had plugged in a vacuum cleaner, overloading the circuit breaker. This wouldn't happen in most houses. But the Edgar house is different. It soaks up nearly four times the electricity consumed by a typical Texas home. Most of that goes into heavy-duty computing hardware that the

100,000 flock to D-FW mega events like Harvest America, praising God and spending millions

Summer is peak season for large religious events, as it's a time when hotels "have more latitude in the rates and the concessions they can offer," said Kevin Owens, who holds the SBC account for Visit Dallas. Faith groups fit in "niche moments" in hotel and convention corporate cycles when big businesses aren't booking rooms, and they maintain cash flow in what would otherwise be a quiet month, said Harry Schmidt, the president and CEO of the Religious Conference Management Association,.

Colorado lawmakers propose using blockchain technology to protect state data

A bipartisan bill before Colorado lawmakers encourages state agencies to research uses for blockchain technology to potentially reduce costs by eliminating redundancies and preventing fraud. The bill’s advocates and the state’s blockchain community said it has a greater message: Colorado can be a powerhouse for the burgeoning technology, and the public sector is integral in making that happen. Sponsored in the senate by Sens. Kent Lambert, R-Colorado Springs, and Angela Williams, D-Denver, Sen
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